Ahmed, Amir lead Pakistan to Champion's Trophy semi-final

Sarfraz Ahmed roars in delight as Pakistan seal a tense win Getty Images

At 162 for 7, Pakistan - in their pursuit of 237 - looked in serious trouble. But captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Amir pulled off a rescue act with an unbeaten 75-run stand for the eighth wicket, which helped their side beat Sri Lanka by three wickets to book their Champion's Trophy semi-final berth against England on June 14.

Ahmed had won the toss and opted to bowl first on a surface that bore a green tinge. Opener Niroshan Dickwell was the pick of Sri Lanka's batsmen and held the innings together with a solid 86-ball 73, while others got starts but failed to capitalize. Cameos from Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne and Suranga Lakmal pushed Sri Lanka to a respectable 236. Pakistan required just 4.78 from the onset to make the semis, but their batsmen made the chase look harder than it was, by regularly loosing wickets. Despite a 74-run opening platform, they found themselves struggling at 110 for 4 in 20 overs.

The situation took a graver turn as two more wickets fell before the 30th overs were bowled. It was then that Ahmed and Amir came together. Sri Lanka shelled their chances to dismiss the duo with Thisara Perera dropping a sitter at mid-on in the 39th over and substitute fielder Seekkuge Prasanna grassing another chance in the 41st. The duo scored at a rate of five in the 15 overs they batted together. It was enough to take Pakistan home with 31 balls to spare. Ahmed top-scored with 61 off 79, with Amir remaining unbeaten on 28.